In the age of social media and rapid advancements in digital communications, a new generation of students is growing up conscious of their connection with everybody else in the world.
Software development company Instructure thus saw an opportunity to build a learning platform that would make teaching and learning easier in today’s global village. Enter: Canvas, open-source software and native cloud learning management system.
To demonstrate the ways Canvas could empower students all over the globe to “change the world,” Instructure launched K12 Buddy System.
The K12 Buddy System is a cross-border project that demonstrates what can be achieved in a truly global classroom and a collaborative learning environment.
Forty-five students, aged 15-16 years old, from De La Salle Lipa in the Philippines and Callaghan College in New South Wales, Australia were given a problem to work on together for eight weeks, from Aug. 20 to Oct. 24, using Canvas under the supervision of selected teachers. The problem they needed to solve was “The Culture of Throwaway Plastics.”
The students, working in groups of four—two students representing each school—came up with three solutions to persuade people, businesses, or the council in their local area to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic. These solutions must be actionable, practical, and solve a specific problem concerning single-use plastics. All actions must be backed up by research and strong rationale.
The top 10 submissions proceeded to the final round on Oct. 24, during which the teams presented their strongest solution to the judges from the Philippines and Australia using a Canvas classroom in real-time through video conference.
The judges included Troy Martin, general manager, APAC; the principals and project lead teachers from both De La Salle Lipa and Callaghan College; and Raf Dionisio, a social and environmental entrepreneur and co-founder of The Plastics Solution volunteer movement.
Team Waratah DLSL 2, composed of Danielle Lei Araez and Jesse Candelario, bested the other teams with their presentation to create eco bricks using single-use plastic waste.
Eco-bricks are plastic bottles stuffed with non-biodegradable waste. They utilize the longevity and durability of plastic. The team seeks to inspire local communities and institutions to see their trash as something that could be literally constructive. Eco-bricks have been proven to be cheaper and safer than hollow blocks.
Team Wallsend DLSL 8, with Keely Harris, Kim Ditan, Josh Aldrich De Villa, Olivia Beck, and Chloe Speering, won second place with their proposal for an alternate material to plastic: Seaweed Bioplastic.
Seaweed Bioplastic is a completely and easily biodegradable plastic made using an environmentally friendly production process. It is already being produced in Indonesia where it is proven to be both sustainable and profitable.
Olivia Staub, Jose Miguel Villegas, Edward Augustine Tullao, Danya Best, and Isha Prasad of Team Wallsend DLSL 6 took home the third spot. The team proposed a stricter implementation of zero-plastic policies by creating a watch group called “Guardians of the Plastic Bag.” The group aims to encourage people to use to single-use plastic bag alternatives such as bayong, beeswax wraps, newspapers, and banana leaves.
“The K12 Buddy System opens up a whole new horizon for learning for both students and teachers,” said Martin. “And this is just the beginning. We hope to do more projects like this that pushes the boundaries of conventional education and encourages learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.”
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